#citylis Student Perspectives: Saidah Gilbert on the Professional Mentoring Scheme

Student Perspectives is our series of guest posts written by current #citylis students.

This post is by #citylis student Saidah Gilbert. Here she shares her experience taking the Professional Mentoring Scheme at City University London.

#citylis student Saidah Gilbert

#citylis student Saidah Gilbert

Since I was a high school student, my dream was to become a librarian. At first, it was simply that I spent most of my time there. Then I became interested in what librarians do. The librarians at my high school were kind enough to answer to my curiosity. Research into the job revealed that a Master’s Degree was ideal to secure the job as a librarian in today’s world. So here I am in London, studying at City University London, reading an MSc in Library Science. At City, there are many programmes that help and advise students in their chosen discipline. The Professional Mentoring Scheme was one of them.

I joined the scheme geared toward postgraduate students in October of last year (2014). First, it started with a general meeting where we were introduced to our mentors for the first time. My mentor was revealed to be Diane Bell, Research Librarian at City University. At our introductory meeting, we, the mentees were encouraged to note down our goals for the entire scheme as well as what we would like in terms of personal development. It was my desire to learn the ‘nuts and bolts’ of librarianship in London and in general and to expand on the skills that I was learning through my course. In terms of personal development, I wanted to become someone who can form lasting relationships, both professional and personal.

We met mostly once a month at City Library on Northampton Square. Diane graciously invited me to her workplace so I can meet her colleagues and see how they and she work. We discussed many topics ranging from public and academic libraries and their issues to ideal employee skills. We also visited The British Library together. I was encouraged to visit other libraries as well. As my interest in librarianship fell mainly in the public sphere, I visited other public libraries as well. Throughout the course of the scheme, there were two networking sessions, both of which I attended. There, mentees were offered the opportunity to connect with various professionals in short 6-minute sessions. Interview practice sessions were available as well. As one of my goals was learn communication in the professional sphere, I was glad to have this opportunity. The feedback from those sessions indicated that I usually have no problem in one-on-one communication.

Stating my goals in written format as well as telling my mentor verbally helped me to introduce more introspection to my life. Usually, I am someone who just goes with the flow. Now I find myself analysing that flow. Over these past few months, I have realised that having a formally stated goal is better than having a nebulous one. This is an attitude that I hope to continue in my personal and professional life.

Saidah is on Twitter @saidahgilbert.

The Professional Mentoring Team at City are on Twitter @MentoringatCity.

This blog post was originally published in slightly different form on Saidah’s blog on 27 July 2015.

Student Perspectives is our series of guest posts written by current #citylis students. If you are a current #citylis student or alumni and would like to contribute a post, please contact Ernesto Priego at ernesto.priego.1@city.ac.uk

For current and future Library and Information Science news, opportunities and events follow the #citylis blog on Twitter @citylis.

About Ernesto Priego

A lecturer at City, University of London. My research interests include digital humanities, library and information science, human computer interaction design, comics scholarship, scholarly communications, open access, open data and open educational resources.
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